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Not Your Mother's Hysterectomy: The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

At the start of this century, a typical hysterectomy required surgery lasting several hours, a hospital stay of up to four days, and as much as two months of downtime recovering at home. Since there are about 600,000 hysterectomies performed each year, the impact in care costs and lost time could potentially be extreme.

However, improvements in surgical techniques in the last generation significantly change the hysterectomy experience. The key to these changes is the rise of minimally invasive surgical approaches, “keyhole” surgery using special tools, and sometimes robotic assistance to remove the need for large surgical incisions.

Dr. Catalin Marinescu of OBGYN Care in Newport Beach and Irvine specializes in minimally invasive pelvic surgeries including hysterectomy and experience with the da Vinci® robotic surgical system. Here’s a look at how minimally invasive surgery benefits those receiving hysterectomies today.

What is a laparoscope?

The laparoscope is the tool that revolutionized surgery. In the past, surgical incisions made for hysterectomies were large, since the surgeon needed to see the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries to facilitate their removal. The laparoscope developed as a diagnostic tool that allows a surgeon to view organs and structures inside the body with minimal disruption of surrounding tissue.

A half-inch incision is all that’s needed to insert the camera-based imaging provided by the tool. With the field of view now accessible by camera, pioneers in minimally invasive techniques sought ways to perform surgeries using surgical tools that could also access internal organs through keyhole incisions.

The da Vinci system

There’s a limit to the amount of articulation and precision offered by laparoscopic tools controlled by a surgeon’s hands. Robotic tools operating under a surgeon’s control have fewer limitations. Dr. Marinescu views a high-definition, three-dimensional image of your uterus and other organs while operating controls that move specially designed tools with a degree of accuracy unmatched by the human hand.

Advantages of minimally invasive hysterectomy

Cutting through the abdominal wall created the long recovery times associated with conventional hysterectomy techniques. You’d spend most of your time recovering from cut muscles, not the removal of your uterus. The hospital stay that was once a necessary part of hysterectomy surgery is gone with minimally invasive techniques.

Contemporary hysterectomies performed on an outpatient basis have become the norm. The procedure itself takes about an hour, and you’ll be home the same day. Keyhole incisions produce little blood and the risk of complications stays low.

If you need pain relief after your procedure, over-the-counter pain medications are usually up to the task, removing the need for opioid drugs. Your post-surgical downtime is typically 7 to 10 days. The tiny keyhole incisions mean that scars are equally tiny, if they form at all.

Minimally invasive techniques adapt to other gynecological procedures too, not only hysterectomy. Talk to our professionals at OBGYN Care to learn more about your surgical options for any procedure. You can contact either office directly by phone or through the online appointment request tool. Your hysterectomy may not be the ordeal you expect. Book your consultation today.  

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